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An “Amalfi on the Chesapeake” English-American Wedding

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

Hanna Marie Viceroy Watt, senior product manager at Dotdash, and James Joseph Durkin, VP director of sales and operations and auctioneer at Sotheby’s, met at a co-worker’s party, when they were both at the auction house. Jamie won the cereal box game, where players try to pick up a cereal box with only their teeth, and after, “put on a charm offensive,” Hanna says. “I was also quite impressed that he put on an English accent all night, as I too like to pretend I’m English from time to time… Little did I know then that he is actually English!”

After dating for three-and-a-half happy years, he proposed at Halcyon House after attending a friend’s wedding in Australia. “As I am trying to encourage him to have a drink and listen to the waves on the terrace, Jamie finally came out with a little yellow box served on a tray. (I was expecting some snacks!) He got down on one knee and sweetly proposed as we listened to the pacific ocean in the background,” Hanna says.

For their wedding, they decided there was no better place than the bride’s childhood home in Annapolis. “It is on a point surrounded on three sides by Aberdeen Creek on the Chesapeake Bay. Not only surrounded by water, the house has herons that constantly fly around and grace the property,” she explains. Hanna was excited to show her out-of-town guests from England, New York, Australia, California and more how special the location was. “The whole weekend, we continued to joke that the redcoats were coming!” she says.

Being a summer baby, Hanna also knew she would be getting married in that season. “It was even easier to choose a date as both my grandparents were married on June 19th and June 20th, and Jamie’s on June 21st,” she says. They chose June 22nd to honor all of them— “which turned out to be the busiest wedding date of the year.” To help plan everything, they enlisted Samantha Crew from Simply Chic Events.

Because Hanna grew up competitively sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and she has a love of the Amalfi Coast and Capri, slightly encouraged by her Italian family, the wedding’s theme was “Amalfi on the Chesapeake.” The week-of had tons of activities, including a welcome “Dolce Vita” happy hour on her neighbor’s vineyard and a day on the Woodwind Schooner, “which the Brits loved because it was the same boat used in Wedding Crashers,” Hanna says.

For her wedding weekend wardrobe looks, the bride tried to play off of the Italian inspiration. On the vineyard night, she wore a tiered Zimmermann dress with gold, floral earrings, and for the boat ride, she wore an Onia striped bathing suit with Mercedes Salazar lemon earrings.

Hanna had actually saved her Lela Rose wedding dress on Instagram before she got engaged. It was coincidentally named the “Capri,” and the bride kept coming back to it. However, she had some trouble locating it at any of the trunk shows, so she called her friend from college, who works at the label, and the bride got to try on the gown that same week. She ended up trying on the design around 10 more times, in New York with her mom and in London with Jamie’s, and at one of the last fittings, the seamstress sewed a button from the bride’s grandmother’s dress (which her mother also wore) into the Capri.

Her veil was custom-made in the Garment District with large floral appliqués that faded as they reached the top, and she completed the look with white fringe Aquazzura block heels. Her grandmother gifted her an emerald bracelet, which her husband had gifted her, and a sixpence from the year Hanna was born for her shoe. “Right before we walked down the aisle, I realized I was missing my ‘something blue,’ so I grabbed my mother’s incredible aquamarine ring off of her finger. My father gave it to her, and it has always been one of my favorites,” the bride says.

To say, “I do,” Jamie wore a made-to-measure black tuxedo with velvet lapels by Billy Reid— his favorite shop in the city! The team embroidered the couple’s initials on all of his shirts for the day and added their favorite song, “This must be the place,” to the inside of his jacket. Groomsmen were also in tuxedos with monogrammed Billy Reid pocket squares, and bridesmaids wore their own blue, green, and yellow dresses and were gifted statement earrings on the morning-of. 

In an outdoor ceremony, Hanna’s uncle officiated and had to keep the two from kissing too early. During the service, Jamie’s cousin sang an Irish ballad, and the whole congregation joined in with an English hymn, “which caught the Americans by surprise!” Following the recessional, the couple gathered their immediate families for an Aperol Spritz toast and then joined everyone on the back terrace, overlooking the water, for a cocktail hour.

For dinner, guests found their seats under the raised, clear marquee next to the house. Tables were dotted with Roman busts filled with flowers to give the feeling of being somewhere far removed. To add another Mediterranean element, Jamie hand-painted everyone’s plate with European seaside motifs and their name. Jamie’s mother also painted a beautiful seating chart that helped set the tone.

The couple wanted a true mix of an English and American reception, which meant lots of dancing and toasts. After making their entrance, they immediately jumped up on the table, and the party began! The newlyweds had their improvised first dance to “Do I Do” by Stevie Wonder. “How can you say no to a ‘I do’ pun?” 

After a bit, Hanna changed into a Retrofête dress, and at one point back on the dance floor, her father formed an energetic circle with the bridesmaids’ husbands and groomsmen engaging in a pushup contest. Once the reception formally came to a close, guests took off to a local bar playing ’90s favorites.